Each CSI in my force is required to be on call a number of times a month. It works out that one of us is on call once a week for each office. An on call shift will almost always follow a late shift.
I had a particularly busy late shift and didn't get back in the office until 2200 hours. I had to then complete the reports for each job I had attended and sort the evidence I had recovered.
I should go home at 2200.
I was lucky enough to be joined on my late shift by another CSI in the same office, so at least I had someone to talk to whilst I worked. We had both been worked well that shift, so were both still in the office listening to Florence and The Machines on my iPhone whilst typing away.
The clock got to about 2345 when the phone rang on the desk between us.
We're not normally there at that time and the officers know that too.
It must be a supervisor, either calling to tell us to go home or, far more likely, asking us to go to a job.
We looked at each other briefly, I answered the phone.
The supervisor wanted one of us to go to a Section 18 Wounding scene which was outside just around the corner from the nick. She passed me the details which I wrote on a scrap of paper on the desk. CSI John was eagerly reading the note over my shoulder as I scribbled away.
Lots of "yep" "Uh Hu "OK"'s and I hung up.
CSI John had the gist of the scene but I explained it to him in the way the Supervisor had. The supervisor said she required one of us to go and didn't mind who it was. I really wanted to go but we decided to flip a coin, it was overtime after all.
Heads, CSI John won. Rubbish.
I packed up my kit and went home.
I got home and flicked the kettle on. I had a cup of tea and went to bed, pretty certain I wouldn't be called out.
The phone rang at 0342, it was my supervisor who wanted me to attend an outside scene.
It turns out one of the City's finest decided he was bored of sleep at 0300 hours and wanted to see if he could kick and punch the nearest passer by as hard as he could. The victim fought back but came off noticeably worse than the other and had a fractured skull.
The offender had left a substantial amount of blood at the scene. Bonus.
I live only about five minutes from the station. I jumped in the shower, cleaned my teeth and signed in at the office at 0410. I printed the log and put my cases in the van.
I stapled the four pages of the log together and put it on my clip board.
I called up on the radio:
"CSI Guy to control, over"
"Good morning CSI Guy, go ahead, over"
"Good morning to you! Can you let the officers at Any Street know I'll be with them in fifteen minutes please? Over"
I got in the van and started the engine. Tripod! I ran back up the stairs and fetched the tripod from under my desk. Night time photography is impossible without a tripod.
It didn't take long to get to the scene. It was on a different division to the one I normally work. I was greeted by the shift Sergeant who had a handful of swabs...
Hmm. Swabs...I thought? I've got my own.
They had blood on them. Not so good. It turns out the bobbies on the scene were under the impression I wasn't going to be turned out. They made the decision to recover the evidence themselves.
Luckily for me, and them, there was still enough blood on the pavement and road for me to spoon up.
I grabbed some yellow number triangles and began to place them down at points of interest, these were a number of spots of blood and a broken bottle. The markers help to identify each location in relation to the next in a series of photos. Also, when recovering an exhibit, I can identify it 'from next to marker 3' etc.
I took a photo up and down the road to show each side of the scene. I then took a general photo of marker one. I then put the macro lens on, I'm a geek like that, other's probably wouldn't. I want as much detail as possible in the image.
Whereas a photo taken during the day would probably only take a 125th of a second to record, at night it can be anything between 1-30 seconds and sometimes longer. The camera has to be completely still during this time, otherwise the image will appear to be blurry.
One of my CSI elders told me that if a job is important enough to be called out for, it's important enough to be photographed. I'll remember that one. We don't take photos at every job, there's no need.
Once the photos were complete, I put my camera in the van and grabbed my SOCO kit. We still call it SOCO kit. CSI kit doesn't suit it.
The first evidence bag contained three swabs. One was a control sample of the sterile water I was using, the second was a wet swab of the blood and the third was a dry swab of blood. A control swab should always be taken. Depending on the circumstances, surfaces and time elapsed etc, depends whether or not a wet and dry swab are taken.
Each swab is labelled with the exhibit number, time and date. These three swabs go in the same exhibit bag and have the same exhibit number. The exhibit number changes when the sample location changes.
I did this for the other location and recovered the broken bottle.
It doesn't seem a lot, but I was at the scene for just short of an hour. The photos take the longest amount of time.
When there is a CSI officer on duty at 0400 hours then you'd be surprised how popular you are. You are often the only one on duty for the force. I'm convinced there's secret messages sent between control rooms on divisions letting each of them know I'm on duty. Control rooms and supervisors will often try to get you to another job after the one you've done. I'd love to stay on, for two reasons, I'm already awake and more importantly; it's overtime. Unfortunately the overtime needs to be authorised by a CSI supervisor. There s always a CSI supervisor on call overnight to answer calls and refuse or authorise a call out.
The Inspector wanted me to go to the hospital and photograph the victim's injuries. I wasn't allowed. The injuries will still be there tomorrow, a CSI on normal time will be tasked with it.
I went back to the office and put the report together on the computer. I put the blood swabs in the freezer.
I signed out of the time book just after 0730 and stopped at MacDonald's on the way home for breakfast. In bed by eight and got the rest of that day off.
I checked the progress of the job Yesterday. It turns out the victim has decided not to pursue a complaint against the fool who almost killed him. It means the swabs are destined for the bin. I still get the overtime however.
I've been very busy recently and have so much I want to blog about but I need to wait until the cases are done and dusted.
I'll go back and see what I can blog about from a few months ago.